Victor Troicki


Nadal (R.) and Marc Lopez bite the doubles trophy at Indian Wells on Plexicushion.  We contend though, that Plexicushion and doubles has taken a bigger bite out of Rafa.

To what do you owe this infrequent ripple across the page?  We are so busy of late that we’ve neglected most all things, even tennis.  But those of you who know me know it has been seldom if ever that we pass on a chance on to pick up apart Rafael Nadal.  And more seldom probably is it to even get a legitimate opportunity.  Nadal has been great, frankly, in the last 3 years.  He’s won a Wimbledon and a US Open, he’s won 3 French Opens, and competed hard in 3 other major finals.  Nadal was not a good, but a great number 2 last year, and in all likelihood, was more of a 1A for the 8 or 9 months of the season.  But that was last year.

We’ll always find a way to criticize Nadal for being a pusher and playing that weak, safe defensive style, and while he played great through the French Open in 2012, for a pusher or anyone else, and was a virtual human backboard, he played way too much tennis.  Too many matches as a product of winning so much, but he also could have taken it easier at many points early to mid season, which includes pushing it in doubles as well.  We don’t think it too coincidental that Nadal and Marc Lopez played the doubles at Indian Wells on Plexicushion and won there, and that Nadal was basically out of the game 2 months or so later.  Nor we do find much coincidence in Federer beating Nadal in the semis at IW, or in losing to Murray in a walk over a few weeks later in the semis at Key Biscayne, where he also played doubles.

For Nadal in singles, the points are way too long, and there were too many of them.  I don’t know the actual numbers, but it certainly seems to me that Nadal plays a ridiculous number of deuces, and that he may be the King of Deuces as well as the King of Clay, but for the latter, who knows how much longer he’ll hold the crown?  Because his serve is not super strong in and of itself, he really has to fight hard in his service games.  The fighter that he is, he is trying to win all of his return games too and he is in most of them.  But the net cost we see now is the right patella.  Didn’t any reasonable tennis fan know that Nadal’s problems were going to come to a head?  This knee thing has been amply foreshadowed.  Let’s face it.  There have been very few losses in Nadal’s career where someone wasn’t questioning one knee or other.  That goes back to the style of play.

Too much of the wrong kind of tennis when it comes to health and longevity on clay and Plexicushion, our  “favorite” surfaces.  Plexicushion, the surface that is probably even slower than most clay nowadays, but has the same amount of general wear and tear factor as any hardcourt surface, including surfaces where you can actually hit a winner.  One of these Aussie Open finals has to have the need of the roof already, and we think even then Rod Laver will play horribly slow.  But that’s the bullshit behind Plexicushion that major corporations and entities like manufacturers and tournaments and associations want people to believe is way easier on the joints and at absorbing less heat.  Right.

We’re just of the notion that the tennis is better when people can hit more than the occasional winner.  Also, faster surfaces promotes better, more diverse tennis and tennis styles as well.  It seems that Nadal could return to the tour on Plexicushion, the surface that has done the damage to Nadal’s knees in recent years, if we are to take him at his word that he is returning at the Abu Dhabi 250-ATP event there the last week in December.  Nadal, who just last week refused to commit to the Australian Open and said that he had no idea when in 2013 he would return, because he wasn’t playing until the knee was “fully healed.”  So Nadal has changed his tune completely in the span of one week, and when pressed about his status he confessed to Spanish reporters that he has not done any on court work yet and has no plans to anytime soon.

Nadal is going to be evasive, sure.  If it were me or my player, I wouldn’t want people to know the exact  health status because that could be a competitive advantage.  But it seems to us that a guy who hasn’t picked up a racquet since Wimbledon and who is still not practicing regularly or on court is not making a good decision by coming back to play at Abu Dhabi, on a court just like the ones that exact the greatest toll on his knees.  We are now expected to believe that Nadal, who is probably only exercising in a swimming pool at this point, knows for a fact somehow that he will be playing in the UAE on December 26th or 27th?  It’s preposterous.  We  question both the flip flop in stance, as well as to pick Abu Dhabi, seemingly out of the blue.  Nadal is a guy who is best when he is playing a lot.  Last Monday, he dropped to world #4, as Olympic gold medalist and US Open champion Andy Murray moved up to #3.  But David Ferrer is a good 2000 rankings points behind him and is gimpy himself at the moment, so Nadal really does not have to worry much about rankings/seedings just yet.  What’s best for Nadal is a balanced schedule that includes him playing when he is healthy and resting when appropriate.  If Nadal is on the court soon, he should think about coming back this season.  The Spanish are in the mix for another Davis Cup and there is also the YEC, where Nadal has yet to win or even final.  Nadal’s rhythm and confidence comes from playing a lot of tennis.  We’d have trouble recalling any big event that Nadal has won off of an extended layoff, and really, we can’t see how Abu Dhabi and then Qatar has worked that well in recent years as Nadal’s warmups to Melbourne.  Disagree if you will, but what we do see with Nadal’s early schedule is a lot of Plexicushion pounding before he even sets foot on Aussie soil.

We feel that Nadal’s style is both physically and mentally exhausting, and missed months and majors are the cost.  Toni Nadal, professional sports most well known uncle, has intimated many times that he does not control Nadal’s schedule, that the player makes the schedule despite his best input.  Let’s take that at face value then.  Nadal has not won a non clay event since Toray, Japan in 2010.  He has not won on hards or grass in 2 full years.  Nadal, as good as he is when he is at his best, has reverted back to a clay court specialist, bottom line.  We think that Nadal is very weary mentally, and more or less afraid to roll out to the Paris Indoor and the YEC because he has no confidence on quicker hards or indoor surfaces, when in actuality, he should view them, if healthy, as having nothing to lose at.

Paris and London, two cities that get their fill of Rafa in June and July, do not offer the same large participation bonuses as do the Arab princes in Abu Dhabi and Doha.  So there is absolutely no motivation for him to come back until the U.A.E., though that stretch seems to get his knees off to a bad start every year.  So Nadal, again has chosen a bad schedule for the wrong reasons, whether he is chasing points, or meaningless doubles trophies (they are in fact actually significant though when taken in light of the additional toll to his knees), or money, which he probably has more than enough of at this point.

We hate to seem like we are counting people’s money.  That’s not what this is about.  Moreso, we see Federer and Djokovic playing extremely wise schedules, even missing their home tournaments in Basel and Serbia in the past, so that they are able to play important events such as the YEC.  And they are both YEC champions in part, because of it.  Nadal has never really rolled into the YEC healthy or on a high note, and that is in part due to short sighted scheduling, even more important to Nadal since he is a total pusher who has absolutely nothing when he’s flat, and has never been able to remain fresh through October and November.  Recall that Djokovic used to show up to the YEC as dead as a dead dog’s dick, but the Djoker has a smarter team that has made the necessary adjustments, and now we see him playing his brand, full of energy, in mid October and beyond.

While Nadal shows up at Halle where he partners up with Marcel Granollers, and ends up defaulting in the singles and doubles after a long three set doubles affair against Michal Mertinak and Victor Troicki.  The next week, he gets destroyed at Wimbledon by Rosol, who has not been heard from since, and four months later, the guy is not yet on any tennis court of any kind.

As much as we don’t like Nadal, his absence is bad for the game.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

We predict Judy Murray (background) is going to see her son’s major winless streak extended this year at Roland Garros, next year at Roland Garros, and so on.

Odds to win French Open Title — Roland Garros 2012 (Sunday, June 10th 2012, 9 AM EST)

Alexandr Dolgopolov:  + 15000

Andy Murray:  + 3000

David Ferrer:  + 3500

Ernests Gulbis:  + 15000

Fernando Verdasco:  + 10000

Gael Monfils:  + 10000

Gilles Simon:  + 15000

Janko Tipsarevic:  + 15000

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:  + 10000

John Isner:  + 6500

Juan Martin Del Potro:  + 2000

Jurgen Melzer:  + 15000

Marcos Baghdatis:  +15000

Marin Cilic:  + 15000

Mikhail Youzhny:  + 15000

Milos Raonic:  + 6500

Novak Djokovic:  + 200

Philipp Kohlschreiber:  + 15000

Rafael Nadal:  – 125

Richard Gasquet:  + 10000

Roger Federer:  + 800

Stanislas Wawrinka:  + 15000

Tomas Berdych:  + 3500

Viktor Troiki:  + 15000

Field (Any Other Player):  + 500

……….

Rafa’s no surprise.  Djokovic seems about right.  The rest of the odds take some um, odd turns.  Federer all of a sudden, the champ 3 years prior, now has odds worse than the field.  Alright.  In our books that makes Roger a good bet, but that’s just us.  He’s only been to the final 6 out of the last 7 years, but apparently Caesar’s Palace has detected some obvious decline to the great man that we have not.

Andy Murray with better odds than David Ferrer?  That’s an obvious error.  They are both in the same quarter, which would make for a quite nice QF which Ferrer would win.  Murray’s never gotten one on Ferrer on clay, has never won a tournament on clay for that matter, and has had an awful year on clay to Ferrer’s very solid year, once again.  Ferrer is a guy who we could see making a wager on at that line.

Ferrer is going to be a very solid pick for at least the semi-finals, though he may have to go through Giant John Isner to get there.  Ferrer plays the big man very well, but Isner has become America’s best by far on the dirt over the last few years, and we see him as dangerous in this spot.  In fact, he may pose the greatest matchup problem for Rafa, who could not have been that thrilled to see Ferrer and Isner in his half, and Milos Raonic in his quarter.

As a betting man, we are baffled that Raonic and Isner are given such little weight above.  The French has not been won by a dark horse since Gaston Gaudio in that “thrilling” extended 5 setter versus Coria in 2005.  Isner and Raonic have been giving people fits, especially with their second serves, which are darting up off the court, out of even very long players’ strike zones.  Isner nearly pulled off the Rafa upset last year, and is the only guy to take him to 5 sets here.  We think, at +6500, they are both excellent guys to take flyers on.

As an aside, we think Aussie Bernard Tomic is one interesting guy left unlined, and that Marcos Baghdatis got one undeservingly.

So we are a bit late with this, with the tournament beginning already and Monfils already pulling out (clowns do as they do), with Roddick already out (only Roddick can lose to a Mahut, an S & V guy on clay, but we expected him to lose what with him not showing up at all for the entire clay season), and with American Irina Falconi, who liked today, pulling the upset this morning.  She has the eye of the tiger.

We’d have let you know in time to wager, but we fell out extremely early, and when we woke up, the play was off the board.  Below is some of the odds for the ladies (right):

We won’t say much, and we don’t need to.  Serena at 5-2…ho hum.  The Queen is back (and 17-0 on clay this year).  She seems motivated and focused as well.  At +800, we love our lefty, Kvitova as well, and wouldn’t sneeze at VA at +400.  We’d perhaps take a long shot gamble on rising German Mona Barthel, and view Kerber and Bartoli as dangerous.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Rafael Nadal (above) after stunning 3 set upset, suffered at the hands of Croat comer Ivan Dodig.  For Nadal, who was outplayed, it was the first time losing in the 2nd round of a Masters 1000 level event since 2008 (Rome, Juan Carlos Ferrero), and the first time doing so on North American soil since 2007 (Cincinnati, Juan Monaco).

Rogers Cup — Mens Masters 1000 Series (Montreal)

_____________________________________________________________________

12:00 PM

———

Tomas Berdych:  – 275

Ivo Karlovich:  + 185

1:00 PM

——-

Stanislas Wawrinka:  – 200

Kevin Anderson:  + 150

2:00 PM

——

Novak Djokovic:  – 900

Marin Cilic:  + 500

4:00 PM

——-

Janko Tipsarevic:  – 180

Ivan Dodig:  + 130

5:00 PM

———

Mardy Fish:  – 175

Ernests Gulbis:  + 125

5:30 PM

——–

Victor Troicki:  + 110

Gael Monfils:  – 150

7:30 PM

———

Roger Federer:  – 275

JW Tsonga:  + 185

———-

Richard Gasquet:  – 200

Nicolas Almagro:  + 150

……

Rogers Cup — Women (Toronto)

_________________________________________________________

1:00 PM

——

Andrea Petkovic:  + 150

Petra Kvitova:  – 200

——–

2:00 PM

——–

Roberta Vinci:  + 200

Ana Ivanovic:  – 300

——–

MJ Martinez Sanchez:  + 250

Victoria Azarenka:  – 400

——-

3:30 PM

———-

Maria Sharapova:  – 600

Galina Voskoboeva:  + 400

——-

Vera Zvonareva:  – 150

Agnieszka Radwanska:  + 110

——–

7:00 PM

——-

Serena Williams:  – 1200

Jie Zheng:  + 600

——

Francesca Schiavone:  – 185

Lucie Safarova:  + 135

……

We don’t have a lot to say about tomorrow’s action, especially on the women’s side, where we are having a lot of trouble making sense of it.  As for the men, sure we wanted Nadal/Verdasco in this matchup, but we also wanted Nadal/Raonic down under, when it was Ferrer who punched Raonic’s and Rafa’s ticket. 

Nadal:  – 4000

Ljubicic:  + 2000

Sure Nadal deserves to be a large favorite, but if you are like us, looking for positives for the dog, keep in mind that Ljubicic (above) came from behind to beat Nadal on a very slow hardcourt last spring, and that these Babolat balls are still popping like ping pong balls.  This match could have some Isner/Nadal in it, and we respect the work the big Croat has done on his conditioning and overall game.  We’ll say it.  We left him for dead when he changed his racquets.  But he has worked hard, and is now almost sage, and we think he respects very much his opportunity.

Andy Murray is set to give his right ankle a go, and is favored over hard hitting Serb Viktor Troiki.  Here are the odds:

Murray:  – 240

Troicki:  + 180

Troicki is a big hitter, but one that Djokovic is totally dialed in to.  They practice together a lot, and the Djoker has dropped a few bagels on his countryman and some very one sided scorelines during his streak.  We’d like to see Murray play uninhibited tennis and move on tomorrow.

Simon:  + 220

Soderling:  – 300

It will kill us to see the Swede lose this one.  We are counting on the Rafa/Robin quarter, for obvious reasons.  But Simon can not be underestimated.  He’s also the type who can stomach a long match quite easily.  Soderling is a big favorite here.  Gun to our head, and at these rates we’d pick Simon.  Let’s hope Soderling’s serving bombs from the word go.

Falla:  + 190

Chela:  – 250

Chela seems to have captured the magic this fortknight.  We like his length.  They are both clay courters, but Chela is way more dangerous, and has been serving darts.  We’d take him.

And for the ladies:

Li:  + 135

Kvitova:  – 165

_____________________________

Makarova:  + 550

Azarenka:  – 1000

_________________________________

Sharapova:  – 300

Radwanska:  + 220

_________________________________

Petkovic: – 300

Kirilinko:  + 220

Not that we know much, but in 3 of four, we like the dogs.  We just don’t see these favorites as being that well established.  Sharapova has played great, and on paper, she kills Radwanska.  But Radwanska is going to try to grind it out, and Mash doesn’t slide, and we just don’t know that this doesn’t have upset written all over it.  Obviously, the best favorite on the women’s side tomorrow, even if it’s an awful bet, is Azarenka.

Some of the best action tomorrow, may be the conclusion of Ferrer-Monfils, with the winner slated for Roger.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

The Isles collectively winced today, when their great hope, Andy Murray (above), rolled his right ankle in his 3rd round matchup at Roland Garros versus German Michael Berrer.  Murray, with a seemingly plum draw into the semis where he’d possibly meet the anointed, Novak Djokovic, played very well after the injury, though gingerly.  Does a bad ankle necessarily spell doom for Murray?  We’ll say that physically at least, Murray is a lot tougher than he looks.  There isn’t anyone alive right now who’d want to face Djokovic at less than full speed, but Murray did not play compromised tennis today.  As he said to the press, he’s never had much problem with his right ankle before, but he’d wear a brace and go out and hit tennis balls tomorrow, in preparation for tricky Victor Troicki on Monday.

He also said he might not be able to go on, but you shouldn’t worry about that.  Murray likes drama.  We remember back to 2007 when Murray had a bad wrist injury.  He suffered it in Hamburg, right before the French Open, and then struggled to get back on track for the US Open.  He won his match back at the Rogers Cup against Robby Ginepri, then got dusted by Fabio Fognini, 6-2, 6-2.  He was then on to Cincinnati where Marcos Baghdatis gave the lame Murray one of the worst beatings in his life, 6-1, 6-2.

A guy like Nadal, let’s face it, they may talk about what a lion he is and all that, but he wouldn’t even try to play in Murray’s position with the wrist.  As it was, it seemed like ESPN wanted to give Nadal an on the spot ESPY for not retiring against David Ferrer down under, as he did the year before when facing Murray in the semis.  So that summer of 2007, Murray makes his way to Flushing and he won easy in round 1, and then truly gutted out a win over Jonas Bjorkman, 6-1 in the 5th.  You could see it on his face right there.  He was done.  But he came out the next round, against H.T. Lee, and I remember it well as a spectator, because it was a unique moment.  Before the warmup, he and Lee exchanged words, and Muurray told Lee that his wrist was shot and that he was very limited, but that he was going to try to gut it out.  Then he goes down 2 sets, and I’m thinking, “throw in the towel, kid.”  Instead, he takes the next set, before Lee finally beat him in 4.

You all know I don’t like Andy Murray.  No secrets there.  Like and dislike is really all relative though to what is best for the continuation of risk and reward tennis, shot making, variety, and sheer brilliance with racquet and not the feet, on the court.  Andy Murray is good for the game right now.  He has a chance to beat Djokovic, and to win a major, which we all know is historic.  I mean, a Brit hasn’t won any type of clay court tournament since the 70’s.  It’s a shame that Murray caught this break, but we think that Murray is here to play, no matter what.  We also think he’s got the clay court thing figured out better than he ever has in the past. 

A turned ankle is not the worst thing ever.  John McEnroe talked about playing with one, and he used to actually move forward into the court, and he still thought Murray was in good shape, and that it could even prompt him to do what he must to win, addressing the age old knock on Murray, which is to be more aggressive.  Kobe Bryant routinely plays on full blown sprained ankles.  When he injured his ankle badly recently in the playoffs, and was asked if he would still play, he commented that playing hurt was “basically old hat” for him.

So we aren’t going to shed any tears for the UK just yet.  As for the odds for tomorrow, not a lot of respect being shown to past champs on the women’s side:

Hantuchova:  Even

Kuznetsova:  – 130

_________________________________

Jankovic:  – 145

Schiavone:  + 115

We’d be the first to tell you if we thought Kuznetsova was grossly out of shape, as she appeared at Indian Wells.  She’s actually in fine form.  We like that matchup for her, and think she is in the mix for the title.  Sure, we were trashing her as recently as 2 weeks ago, but apparently, she went to Spain and got into great shape, for her, and found her clay court game.  She did look a little tired in the 2nd set of her 3rd round match, but she’s had 2 days to rest.  We’ll take her.  And we love betting against Jankovic, and rooting against her, as her awful mechanics and fundamentals are very bad for the game and for brilliant tennis.  Don’t you hate that accent too?  So annoying.  We’re hoping that Schiavone, the little one hander that could, defends her title ably tomorrow.

Bartoli:  – 190

Dulko:  + 150

______________________________

Zvonareva:  – 220

Pavlyuchenkova:  + 170

_________________________________

We love Zvonareva in general, and hate Bartoli, in general, but who knows how these matches will go?  If we had to speculate, we’d say Vera and Dulko, who can hopefully retain the magic for one more match.

As for the men, there are some huge favorites:

Federer:  – 1100

Wawrinka:  + 650

____________________________________

Djokovic:  – 2000

Gasquet:  + 1000

____________________________________

Ferrer:  – 400

Monfils:  + 300

_________________________________

Fabio Fognini:  + 160

Albert Montanes:  – 200

Federer and Djokovic are heavies for a reason, but who wants to lay out a thousand or a couple thousand to get back a hundred?  Roger did put on a clinic against Stan in Melbourne, and has appeared in fine form, but is Federer now the kind of guy who can come out flat in a major against a guy he should beat, like he did against Falla at Wimbledon?  We think he’s better here in this spot with Annacone.  But keep in mind, Stan’s only win versus Roger came on clay, that it’s a repeat of last year’s round of 16, and that Stan is coming off a tough 5 setter.

At these rates, we love Monfils as well.  And we’ll take the one hander, Montanes, over Fognini, who is just happy to have made the round of 16, in all likelihood.  Though we like Gasquet’s game, would we dare go against the mighty Djokovic?  Probably not, but keep in mind he is playing a match on a third consecutive day, and a win would give him one more than McEnroe’s perfect 42-0 start to 1984.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

In today’s semi-final under card at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, 2009 US Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro (above, top) takes on world #1, Rafael Nadal, in a rematch of the 2009 US Open semi in which the totally beyond compare and above reproach Rafael Nadal–the undisputed king of clay and looping topspin–was road graded by the bigger, stronger, and more talented Argentinian.  A command performance by JMDP who is the only player to ever defeat Nadal and Federer at the same major, claiming his first major title in the grandest possible fashion.  Sure, we were surprised.  That he beat Roger.  But Roger played the big points that day like the trophy was already on his mantle, confusing the 09 crown with the 04-08 crowns.

Bad mistake by the great man, and one he should never have repeated.  Lo and behold, he repeated it the next year, in practically the same exact spot, up 2 sets to 1 against Djokovic (above).  That victory has seemed to embolden Djokovic, who has played at a ridiculous level, handing Federer two consecutive major defeats, grabbing a 1st Davis Cup crown, and a 1st for his nation also, and a 2nd major title down under.  The tennis world, plagued with chronic tunnel vision, has jumped ahead to anointing Djokovic, yet to lose in 2011, as the world’s best tennis player.

This may not exactly be laughable considering his recent play, but it’s also not right.  Nadal currently holds 3 of the major titles.  Had Djokovic beaten Nadal in Flushing, these arguments would be valid.  But since Djokovic’s US Open run ended right after slaying Roger, and lost in impish fashion to Nadal, who is really not built for Decoturf and has little business winning the US Open without a sparkling draw and a matchup with a heartless quitter in the final such as The Djoker, we are still going to say Rafa’s the best right now, pains us as that does.

Is Djokovic the same heartless quitter he has always been though?  At least against Roger, he seems to be rather resilient these days.  But right after Roger in NY, Djokovic reverted back to being a clown who disrespects himself by saying that he was spent, that if the final was played on Sunday he’d have “no chance”, and then on Monday, claiming he was still so exhausted.  This guy?  He can act like a man.  He’s the 1 guy in tennis who calls trainers and defaults more than Nadal, and that’s saying something, because Nadal has permanent trainer’s hand prints on both his calves and quads.  Like Nadal was fresh in that dreadful final where he won in straights?  Nobody’s fresh at the US Open.  Not after 8 months of intense touring and 3 majors on different surfaces.

Djokovic is playing lights out, indisputably.  The Prince of Plexicushion, on which he has played exclusively, except for one tournament.  Good for him.  Yes, he won Dubai and straighted Roger there on a Decoturf court, albeit one topped with as much or more sand than any other.  Yes, he served up bagels to three separate opponents here at IW, including countryman and DC mate Victor Troicki, who took Djokovic to 5 sets last year and almost walked out with his pelt at Flushing.  Wouldn’t Roger have done back flips if that came to pass?

Is Djokovic that good?  Is the world #3 now better than a very able Troicki at #16, by a 6-0, 6-1 scoreline?  Well, serves don’t really take to the clay, I mean Plexicushion, the way they do to a real acrylic hard court not sand topped, like unadulterated US Open courts or the courts in Cincy or at the Paris Indoor.  Unless you are Karlovic, Isner or Raonic.  As the announcers often remarked, Djokovic is playing lights out without even serving that well.  Sure is.  But the surface issue is a big factor.  Even more so than at the Australian Open, Djokovic’s “stomping grounds”, which is technically considered a medium paced court.  Melbourne’s Plexicushion, still considered by us a travesty to the game, at least has allowed some dominant servers to have their day.  But the groundstrokes come in slow, suiting these putrid, safe, soft serving baseliners like Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that the only major finals that have not included Federer or Nadal going back 5 years have been at the AO?  Or that the only guy with 2 majors to his name since the Federer/Nadal dominant period began won them down under since Plexicushion was installed?

Kids, in Australia they have the “nice” Plexicushion.  Technically, the courts here at IW are called slow hardcourts.  In fact, the actual surface is called “Plexipave IW Slow.”  It is a synthetic, or as we like to call it, a fake hardcourt.  Why?  Because California is America’s training ground for homogenized boring baseliners west.  Oh yeah, all this nonsense about a slower, softer court being better in the desert because the balls can really pop in the dry air, and the heat?  Right.  It’s a business.  Slow tennis 2 handed morons want to see slow tennis with lots of rallies, even in America, where the courts should favor the better players, which, here, are fast courts.  But there is not one decent woman playing this game for America right now, and as for the men, well, Richard Gasquet pretends he’s sick when he has to face Andy Roddick indoors and on IW Slow he takes him apart like he’s Federer.

We guess they are pretty happy with the results this year, where the cream has risen to the top, either with the aid of or in spite of this awful surface.  No Mardy Fish’s or Ljubicic’s in the final four this year.  JMDP has muscled his way through the draw.  Good for him.  The game missed him.  Nadal didn’t, but the court, and Del Potro’s lack of long term tour level conditioning may not favor Argentina’s finest today.  Here are the odds:

Nadal:  – 240 (Wager 240 to win 100 plus initial investment)

Del Potro:  + 180 (Wager 100 to win 180 plus initial investment)

If we were willing to go with Karlovic the other night over Rafa, best believe we can stomach the dog here as well.  Do not get the wrong idea about us.  We don’t play who we necessarily expect to win.  We play who we like and who has odds we like.  That would be Del Potro.  The difference between winning and losing in tennis is a handful of points, and big favorites offer no real return, just nervous moments.  Like if you had Rafa the other day versus Karlovic at – 750 and had to sweat out a 3rd set extended tie breaker to win 1 penny for every 8 you laid.

Then there’s the feature match:

Djokovic:  – 180

Federer:  + 140

Say what?  Roger is underdog in a match not against Nadal on red clay?  When was the last time that happened?  Good question.  Honestly, we can’t recall it, and we are up on such things.  You guessed it.  We’ll happily ride 2 dogs today.  To be frank, Federer has a lot on the line today.  The #2 ranking goes to the winner.  Federer, for the 1st time in 8 years, is not in current possession of a major title.  Djokovic seems to have his number.  Especially on the slow icky blue track.  But Roger knows the deal.  Annacone is coaching him up.  Federer needs to absorb the pace, not give the pace to Djokovic.  On slow hards, Djokovic, like Agassi was, is a master at using your pace against you.  When Federer hit out on the slow garbage versus The Djoker in Canada, he looked bad.  He looked like he couldn’t hit a winner, and was over-hitting in an attempt to dictate.  When he gave Djoker junk, and used his variety of spins and slice, then the Djokovic must over hit.  We still feel that Roger has the edge in a close match, and we like the sunny conditions.  We’ve also been loving Roger’s quick hands at net all week.

How many times do you really get to play Federer as a dog?  And how many times is Roger playing for the chance to win a singles and doubles title in the same weekend?  Not sure when or if that’s ever happened either.  Federer/Wawrinka defeated Nadal/Lopez in the semis in doubles and will take on Malisse/Dolgopolov in the final today.

As we have said, we aren’t fainthearted Federer fans.  Not even on Plexicushion.

2 PM live on The Tennis Channel…

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, http://www.crackbillionair.com)